Time well-spent or wasted?

Social media allows companies to use more effective, personalized channels of advertising. (Photo: WikiMedia)

The Frontline documentary, Generation Like, is a brief expose on the effects of social media, particularly on adolescents. While they focused on the fact that a new social economy has supplanted many other notions of status among teens, what surprised me most, was how much time and effort were devoted by young people to social media.

One girl, presented in the film, was considered one of the most prolific Hunger Games fans, (as far as social media engagement was concerned). She would spend hours out of her day tweeting, liking, reposting, and sharing Hunger Games related content. While watching her show off her virtual accomplishments, such as being ranked a top fan or being retweeted by a Hunger Games actor, I couldn’t help but think about what else she could’ve accomplished in that time.

Alternatively, I could easily justify her behavior. Social media, PR, advertising, and marketing are becoming increasingly valuable channels of customer outreach for corporations. Social media, in particular, has been at the forefront of the most effective PR and advertising campaigns in recent history. Although the girl featured in the documentary may not have been learning to play the piano, becoming captain of a sports team, or writing the next great American novel, she was amassing a portfolio of marketing and advertising work. As the documentary suggested, social media allows companies to utilize free marketing from their own customers, a mind boggling notion compared to marketing models of old. Thus, the girl’s countless but effective hours spent socializing and accidentally marketing are invaluable skills she can eventually carry over to the work space. That said, the rate technology advances tells me that social media may be an antiquated form of marketing when she graduates college and enters the workforce.

To watch “Generation Like” visit: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/generation-like/

To read more about how social media can impact businesses visit: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-us/blog/02-11-16-the-rise-of-new-social-media-is-your-business-in-the-know

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